This is the Kit 


Concorde 2, Brighton, September 19

THERE is a film review system in America called Cinemascore which rates new releases not on their supposedly objective quality but on how they match an audience’s expectations.

So a crass, juvenile Adam Sandler comedy can receive an A for tickling the funny bones of the barely evolved, while a sublime treaty on the nature of masculinity and violence such as Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive gets a C- because people were expecting a retread of Fast and the Furious.

Something similar hampered This is the Kit at a packed-out Concorde 2. It’s not a certainty but a betting man probably wouldn’t lose any money by predicting the reasons behind the sudden popularity of Kate Stables (the woman behind the alias).

For the past month or two, everyone’s favourite indie station BBC Six have had the first two singles of the talented singer-song writer’s latest album, Moonshine Freeze, on heavy rotation.

The problem is that both these songs see Stables veer away from her alt-folk roots and into more expansive territory encompassing electronic, psychedelica and even a bit of trip-hop, especially in the stripped down, bass-heavy title track of the above album.

Anyone expecting a night of similarly experimental musical fusion would have been disappointed. At her core, even when bulked up by a band behind her, Stables is a proponent of the kind of gentle, ethereal folk that allows a mind to wander but never shakes a room.

She wasn’t helped by what seemed like a weak PA, meaning that the overall sound, on this night at least, was like a 40 watt bulb trying to light a cavern.

It seems unfair to criticise an act for not living up to an expectation they had not set themselves and certainly Stables is excellent at what she originally set out to be.

It’s just that, by giving a glimpse of something greater, she failed to live up to her own ambitions.

Sam Thomson